Debts You Haven’t Paid

by | Sep 18, 2022 | Sarah Day 2 - Group B

(Sorry–this is late, and really rough! From Prompt #4: Second person, shame. )

Debts You Haven’t Paid

1. The girl in first grade with the big glasses that took up half her face and one lens was smogged up or painted over because she had lazy eye and you asked her to borrow milk money to get chocolate milk and she said she only had enough for one but she’d give you her milk if you’d be her friend and you said you would and you sat with her that day in the cafeteria, but never again.

2. Student loans. Undergraduate, art history/women’s studies. Unemployable.

3. The man in the orange prole cap in the white pickup who followed you for miles on the state highway, making weird hand gestures out the window, and you thought rapist, you thought serial killer, and would have called 911 if your phone wasn’t dead but instead you took an exit quick with no signal and he followed you into the Wawa parking lot and as you were looking in the glove box for the pepper spray your stepmom gave you when you moved out he yelled YOUR CAR IS ON FIRE and you got out and it really was, but he drove away before you could thank him.

4. Student loans. Graduate school, studio art. Unemployable.

5. The chatty co-worker with Disney princess tee-shirts and squirrel teeth who had everything you didn’t have, a husband and a car that didn’t drop pieces of itself all along the road, and you were short on rent and asked her to borrow $500 and then you got another job and were supposed to meet for coffee to pay her the $500 but then your dog got sick and you ghosted her and have ghosted her since.

6. Student loans. When you decided, after 11 years of low-wage, no-insurance jobs to say fuck art, I’ll go to law school and make money, and lasted 6 months, but the loans are with you forever.

7. And now this kid you have, after all the pills, after all the tests, after all the calendars with angry red Xes drawn through one week each month, drawn so hard the paper punctured, and let’s not even do this, you said, maybe we shouldn’t even have a baby, the world is shit anyway, it’s useless to try, and then it wasn’t and you lay in bed two months out of nine, waiting for payback, waiting for karma, and now this kid is staring at you with eyes like a helix nebula, reaching for you with hands like starfish, and you want to tell her no, that you are a crap person and will probably be a crap mother, but that’s not what she needs from you, she is a planet and you are her sun and all you can do is shine for her regardless, shine in all your imperfect light.

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